Honor Above All

J. Bard-Collins. Allium (www.alliumpress.com), $17.99 trade paper (312p) ISBN 978-0-9890535-7-0
At the start of Bard-Collins’s overly complicated first novel, a mystery set in 1882, Pinkerton agent Garrett Lyons brings the body of his detective partner, Sam Wilkerson, back to Chicago by train for burial. Wilkerson was killed in a St. Louis shoot-out, which Lyons is reluctant to talk about. He checks into a small hotel before drifting over to an upscale poker and roulette salon, where he encounters prominent modernist architect and gambler Louis Sullivan, his friend and social mentor. Later that evening, Lyons is visited by Ed McGlynn, whom he knew as a lazy Union private during the Civil War. McGlynn claims that Wilkerson’s murderer is hiding in a warehouse near the river, but after an unsatisfactory interview with the suspect, Lyons finds himself on the trail of larger crimes involving corruption and radical politics. The author does a good job portraying the Chicago of the time, but readers should be prepared for lengthy descriptive passages on subjects like architecture. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/22/2014
Release date: 11/01/2014
Genre: Fiction
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